New Obesity Link to Breast and Prostate Cancer

February 20, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 New Obesity Link to Breast and Prostate Cancer
New information helps to explain how breast1 and prostate cancer2 are linked to obesity. Two hormones that come from fat, leptin and adiponectin, are involved in the problem. When a person is normal body weight, leptin and adiponectin are in a happy balance with each other. The more overweight a person becomes, the more their relationship of these two hormones with each other becomes strained. Leptin levels go high and adiponectin levels go low3. This imbalanced combination has now been shown to throw gene switches that fuel the cancer process.

Adiponectin also controls insulin resistance. When it goes low it means there will also be higher blood sugar and greater risk for type II diabetes. This creates a highly pro-cancer environment as sugar is also needed to fuel cancer growth. This type of metabolic problems worsens with age, with female4 and male cancers more likely after age 50 due to this specific imbalance.

This is sobering information. It means that if you are overweight you must consistently be moving in the right direction and eventually end up at your goal weight if you wish to reduce risks. This is the only way to get leptin and adiponectin back in harmony with each other.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ High Leptin Drives Breast Cancer Growth   Int J Oncol.  Ray A, Nkhata KJ, Cleary MP.
  2. ^ Prostate Cancer Driven by Leptin Problems  BJU Int.  Mistry T, Digby JE, Desai KM, Randeva HS.
  3. ^ Obesity, Cancer, and Adiponectin  Am J Clin Nutr.  Barb D, Williams CJ, Neuwirth AK, Mantzoros CS.
  4. ^ Obesity and Breast Cancer - New Insights  Br J Cancer.  Grossmann ME, Nkhata KJ, Mizuno NK, Ray A, Cleary MP.

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